Quick-- how much does a gin and tonic cost around Bryan? What does a Miller Lite go for in College Station? What do Texas A&M students pay for a vodka red bull these days?

Whatever dollar figures you came up with in response to those questions, you can add about $2 on top of that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The agency recently released a study that says the costs to society of over-consuming alcohol (which, of course, would include damage resulting from drunk driving)  work out to about $1.90 a drink.

To reach this figure, the CDC considered the costs of:

  • Lost work productivity due to alcohol abuse
  • Property damage from alcohol-related car crashes
  • The cost of alcohol-related medical problems, such as cirrhosis of the liver
  • Money spent on prosecuting drunk drivers

Most of the monetary damage stemmed from binge drinking, which the CDC defines as having four or five alcoholic drinks in one sitting

All told, the CDC calculated the cost to society of excessive drinking at $224 billion. (Its research used data from 2006, the most recent year for which statistics were available). For comparison's sake, the CDC estimated smoking costs $193 billion each year and the cost of not exercising totals $150 billion.

This is yet another argument in favor of consuming alcohol only in moderation. Anyone who does over-consume and then gets behind the wheel runs the very real risk of finding out on a personal level just how costly drunk driving can be -- in terms of time, money and energy. This is why many people who are arrested on suspicion of DUI hire defense attorneys. In some cases, these lawyers can help lessen the impact a DUI has on a person.

Source: The Associated Press, "CDC: Excessive drinking works out to nearly $2 per alcoholic beverage in societal costs," Mike Stobbe, Oct. 17, 2011